Dear Fellow Graduates of 1994: Please Go To Your Reunion

by farrah on July 8, 2014 · 7 comments

If you’ve read my blog for any time at all, you should be able to pick up on the fact that at best, I’m a seriously sentimental sap. I carry my memories around with me, hoping against hope that time and emotion don’t distort them all too much. Fact is, I tend to carry people and places around with me wherever I go- and although I know that can’t be said for everyone, my hope today is to try to evoke some sort of nostalgia in someone.

Pearl Jam Ten

I wrote a while back about why I felt I had to go to my 20th reunion. I remember my parents attending theirs in 1987- right down to my mom’s hairstyle and dress. For me, it’s this abstract idea of adulthood- being one, living as one, and achieving as one. Yes, achieving. I use that word because I feel that deep down making it to adulthood and living among the aspects which denote it so- is indeed an accomplishment. You don’t live with your parents. You have a job. You have a life. You’re responsible. Congrats- you’re an adult.

So it is with tremendous disappointment that I learned our reunion, which is just under a month away, is at the 10% rsvp mark. Ok, it might be a percentage or two over that (math was NOT my best class)- but basically, it’s 10%. Now first and foremost I suspect that the ridiculous ticket price of $90 per person is to blame. I’m not a member of the planning committee (nor would I want to be!) but it seems like there should have been some more discussion as to the venue, etc. before settling on a location that charged that much for one person to attend. Ok- so we can agree: the price sucks. But in all reality- this is a one time thing. Really a once in a lifetime thing. Can we say that maybe $90 to celebrate 20 years might be worth a splurge?

Additionally, the next culprit I suspect is that changing times means people move. I *might* know a thing or two about that. I know several people who I adore live in California- which is a pretty far hike from Michigan. Flying in the good old US is disgustingly expensive – and adding that with the ticket price… meh. I get it.

Third, I blame Facebbok and I know I’m not the only one. I did a quick Google search earlier this week and read that the average attendance rate for a 20th reunion is 20-30% these days. It’s not like it was when our parents had their reunions. They didn’t have a computer with a website that refreshed status updates of even the most mundane details of daily life. Oh and photos of everyone’s kids. I know who has kids, who doesn’t. Who turned out to really be gay after all (even though I swear I never knew unless told) who got divorced, etc. etc. etc. These are all details that I wouldn’t know without FB, and truth be told- probably things people were shocked to learn at reunions. ‘I can’t believe SHE got married!‘ sort of thing. But anyhow. I’m sure this isn’t breaking news to anyone else as it’s pretty obvious that Facebook has ruined our social lives and self-esteem in one fell swoop.

Moving on. Here’s the part where I get serious: Look friends. Facebook does not replace real life. Seeing you on the screen doesn’t put my arms around you in a sincere and heartfelt hug. I want to hear your voice and look into your eyes while you tell me what you’ve been up to all these years. You know- what you’ve REALLY been up to, not just the Facebook highlights.

My hometown is fairly small. I went to elementary school with many of the people who I graduated with. I’ve known them since I was Brody’s age! I remember the majority of my teachers and if we had a class together. I probably saw your parents a time or two- and I ask you what’s wrong with going somewhere to celebrate all of that?

I think you underestimate your importance in the scheme of things. You were my classmate. You are someone who made it into adulthood and have a story to tell. I want to see you as a grown man or woman and hear what you’ve been doing. The cliques aren’t there anymore, the ‘groups’ that maybe you hated or clung to so desperately. We all have lives. I want to know where yours took you., and I know I’m not the only one.

Clearly I have been thinking a lot about this reunion for the past few weeks. I’ve even gone so far as to dream about myself in elementary school or high school again. Seeing old friends and living in the past. One person that has popped up a few times in my dreams is my friend Jim. I’ve known Jim since kindergarden. I developed a crush on him that I would carry around from the 3rd-5th grades, and always look at him as a true friend. I remember when his mom was pregnant with his sister. I was his date to our 8th grade Christmas dance, and remained his friend in high school. In college he came to my house on my 21st birthday and celebrated that night with us. I remember HE got pretty drunk and I ended up helping him crash on the floor. Not long after that he was killed by some lunatic on the freeway.

Jim won’t be there. I wish he would. I try to imagine him as an adult: married, with kids, a good job. Happy. I have to imagine what Jim’s life would be like- but you, fellow graduate, are still on this earth and can find people you used to know and tell them in person. No one has to imagine what your life is like. You can tell them.

I’d love to see you there and I know I’m not alone. That old locker neighbor? Would probably love to see you. The jerk you punched in the face during lunch? They’ve probably grown into a really nice guy. Brighton raised good, nice people. We were lucky. Don’t you want to celebrate how far we’ve come?

 Did you go to your 20th reunion? Did you miss it? What did you think when it was over? Am I crazy for caring?

*If you’ve landed here and want info on the reunion email me and I’ll send you to the right person.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joy July 8, 2014 at 10:05 am

I think about Jim often. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and “sappy” sentiments, Farrah. If we weren’t going to the UP 8/23-30th it might have worked out for us. I don’t have as many great memories of school as you, but yes- FB has given me Clift’s Notes of all. Sadly enjoyable convenience!

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2 farrah July 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

I know that there’s much I romanticize. The past is easy to do that with, you know? I feel that two of my biggest influences are 1- I feel strongly about the lack of safety when it comes to schools today. I taught for a few years- and BHS was NEVER like what it is now. EVER. And did you ever think about a shooting? No. We were beyond lucky.

and 2- My children will not know the longevity of staying in one place like I did. They are starting kinder over an ocean and far away from where they will most likely finish. That makes me somewhat sad- because my husband and I were both able to experience those things at BHS.

So I blame my sentimentality on both, plus some other things :)

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3 Mrs. Barb Clinton July 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Hi everyone! This is Mrs. Clinton…Spencer Elementary….Second Grade! Wow! Your 20th! As one of the many teachers of BAS that you may have had, I feel compelled to post a story! I also did not attend my 20th reunion. At the time I was single and had just been fixed up with a great guy by Mrs. Maltzman/Grossman. (Now my husband Mike!) We had only been dating a short time when my reunion approached. I decided that I’d buy my ticket at the door IF I didn’t have a date! Yes, that’s the reason I didn’t go! I always regretted not going although “hooking” Mike in the end! Well my 40th came around and I went! It’s always a little awkward at first, but I must tell you, I had THE best time ever. It was such an increbille experience. I was one of the last to leave! I reconnected with so many classmates! Last weekend I went to my 45th! Yikes! It was a much smaller turnout but equally an incredible evening! So still trying to mentor, influence, guide and “mother” all of the Class of ’94, if there is any way you can make it….GO! You won’t be sorry and looking back you will be so glad you did! As you all know, life is short, people are important, friendship is priceless! Believe it or not…I remember all of the students I had the pleasure to inspire and I wish you all the very best! Fondly, Barb

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4 farrah July 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Thank you so much Mrs. Clinton! ha- I still cannot say ‘Barb’ even at almost 40- I am really glad to see your perspective. I have really been changing my attitude over the past few years and refusing to live with regret. I see how quickly time is flying by- from the boys’ growth to our short time living over here. I won’t regret- I will take advantage and enjoy. I really hope more people read your experience and take heed!

xoxo

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5 Amy July 9, 2014 at 5:52 am

Aw, man – bummer! I said it before but I’ll say it again to help your cause – I skipped mine last year and all of my friends said it was a blast. There were so many people I had totally forgotten about and wished I had seen. I really regretted not going. I hope it works out for you!

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6 farrah July 9, 2014 at 5:58 am

Amy! Thank you so much for commenting. The first time you told me this it stuck with me. I was going to tag you in a tweet and ask you to comment :)

I hope things pick up too.

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7 Kareem August 24, 2014 at 4:23 am

Enjoyed reading this entry! Yes I attended a 20 year reunion which was three years ago. Had a wonderful time, all the good feelings you write about here I experienced in spades. Never had a doubt about going and the weekend satisfied in so many ways. Still think about it and look so much forward to the 25th. Sure hope that more of your classmates will decide to attend yours. They really won’t understand what they’re missing. Regards.

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